Rapidly intensifying mid-latitude cyclone off the US East Coast

March 5th, 2016 |

GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

GOES-13 Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images [click to play MP4 animation]

An area of low pressure rapidly intensified off the US East Coast during the 04 March05 March 2016 period (surface analyses). GOES-13 (GOES-East) Water Vapor (6.5 µm) images (above; also available as a large 57 Mbyte animated gif) showed classic signatures of the various stages of strong mid-latitude cyclone development — most notably the formation of a well-defined comma head and dry slot. Even though the storm was well offshore, impacts near and along the coast included snowfall amounts as high as 6.7 inches at Princess Anne, Maryland, 5.0 inches at Montross, Virginia, and 2.6 inches at Topsfield, Massachusetts; winds gusted to 55 mph at Jennettes Pier, North Carolina and 53 mph at Nantucket, Massachusetts. In Newfoundland, Gander received 17.3 inches of snow, and winds gusted to 77 mph at Cape Pine.

Aqua MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm), Infrared (11.0 µm), and Visible (0.65 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm), Infrared (11.0 µm), and Visible (0.65 um) images [click to enlarge]

Aqua MODIS Water Vapor (6.7 µm), Infrared Window (11.0 µm), and Visible (0.65 µm) images at 1737 UTC (above) and Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared Window (11.45 µm) images at 1722 UTC (below) showed the storm around the time the Ocean Prediction Center indicated that it began producing hurricane force winds (18 UTC analysis).

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

Suomi NPP VIIRS Visible (0.64 µm) and Infrared (11.45 µm) images [click to enlarge]

A sequence of POES AVHRR Infrared (12.0 µm) images at 1852, 2205, and 0100 UTC along with Metop ASCAT surface scatterometer winds (below) showed the storm as it continued to intensify. Even though AWIPS labeled the ASCAT winds with a time stamp of 0228 UTC, cursor sampling found winds as strong as 57 knots south of the storm center and 59 knots north of the storm center at 0155-0156 UTC.

POES AVHRR Infrared (12.0 µm) images at 1852, 2205, and 0100 UTC, with Metop ASCAT winds at 0155 UTC [click to enlarge]

POES AVHRR Infrared (12.0 µm) images at 1852, 2205, and 0100 UTC, with Metop ASCAT winds at 0155 UTC [click to enlarge]

The Ocean Prediction Center posted an animation of Geocolor images of the storm on Twitter:


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